Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for October, 2010

11 Things You Can do That Take 20 Minutes or Less

11 Things You Can do That Take 20 Minutes or Less
That Will Help You Live Longer & Healthier

We’re all trying to pack a million and one things into our days, and you may feel like you’d like to do some good things for your health (your body AND your mind), but you simply don’t have the time.

A few minutes of meditation is proven to help bring you peace of mind.

Well, if you have 20 minutes or less, you have time to make some major improvements to your stress level, your peace of mind, your fitness and your happiness. The following things may only take minutes out of your day, but they’ll make a big impact on your well-being.

1. Stretch

Stretching is so simple that you may overlook its immense benefits. How does increased energy, a greater sense of well-being, reduced muscle tension and increased flexibility sound? Just 15 to 20 minutes of stretching a day is all it takes to experience these beneficial effects, according to stretching expert and creator of the DVD Stretching Toward a Healthier Life, Jacques Gauthier.

Want to know more? Check out The “How To” of Stretching: Tips for Stretching Effectively and Enjoyably.

2. Pray

A report by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that surveyed issues of the Journal of Family Practice over a 10-year period found that 83 percent of studies on religiosity (prayer, belief in a higher being, etc.) found a positive effect on physical health.

Another study on 12 years of issues of two major psychiatric journals found that 92 percent of the studies that measured religiosity showed a benefit for mental health, according to the American Cancer Society.

Pure Relaxation CD

If you need a little help getting started with meditation, try the Pure Relaxation CD. It has deeply relaxing meditations of various lengths and styles to help you get accustomed to meditating.

3. Meditate

Meditation can increase your productivity and give you greater clarity of mind, better concentration, and more energy, according to columnist Mary Maddux.

She has compiled Simple Meditations for Busy People, which you can use any time during the day when you need a brief reprieve.

“While it’s ideal to set aside 15-20 minutes to meditate, you can do these meditations for briefer periods of time throughout the day,” Maddux says. “In fact those of us who are moving at top speed might be able to ease into the “meditation habit” simply by taking a few minutes here and there to do these mediations and slow down. For best results, try to work up to a 15-20 minute meditation period.”

4. Exercise

Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer all while increasing your mood and lowering your chances of depression.

Vigorous activity — jogging, aerobics, dancing with your sweetie — for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times a week is enough to improve your health, according to a report released by the former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

To get YOUR exercise routine started, see The 10 Keys to Start an Exercise Program — and Finally Stick to It!

5. Take a Walk

Not only is walking exercise (see above), but it’s an excellent way to clear your mind, get some fresh air and take a breather from the “busyness” of your home or office. For even greater benefits, try going for a walk on a nice patch of grass … barefoot!

6. Read for Pleasure

Reading fiction, spiritual, self-help and other literary genres that you enjoy is an excellent way to calm your mind. Frequent readers are also more likely to be successful! For more on the benefits of reading, along with a list of the top 25 novels of all time, check out Want to Live Longer? Be Wealthier? And Happier? Here is the One PROVEN Secret: Reading!

7. Say Your Mantra

A mantra is a word or a phrase that, when repeated, should instill a sense of calm, peace and well-being to your body. The words can be anything, as long as they have meaning to you, such as “live in harmony.”

Using a mantra has been found to benefit anxiety, stress from traffic and work, insomnia, and unwanted thoughts, according to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

To get all the information you need to choose and use a mantra, see The Untapped Power and Benefit of Having a Mantra.

Escape from the worries of your day by immersing yourself in a good book.

8. Listen to Music

A study published in the February 2005 edition of The Journal of Advanced Nursing found that older adults with sleep problems who listened to soft music at bedtime reported a 35 percent improvement in their sleep. But that’s not all. Studies have found that music relieves stress, is good for your heart and benefits your mind.

In fact, a 2004 study in the journal Heart & Lung even found that people who listened to music while they exercised performed more than twice as well on a verbal fluency test than people who listened to no music.

If you’re looking for a soothing music experience, you’ll love the Sleep Easy CD. It’s loaded with music by a renowned meditation music composer with 20 years experience, and will help you find deep rest and sleep.

9. Plan Your Meals for the Week

It only takes a few minutes to jot down what you’ll be feeding your family for the next seven days. And you’ll be amazed at how making this simple list will keep you on track to eating healthy. There’s no need to succumb to carry-out because you already know what’s for dinner!

Be sure to plan your meals with simplicity in mind, taking advantage of, say, leftover baked chicken, to make chicken pot pie or chicken salad the next night.

10. Play a Board Game or do a Crossword Puzzle

Ok, some board games take longer than 20 minutes (we all know that a game of Monopoly can easily take all night), but not all of them. Plus, you can easily start a crossword or sudoku puzzle and put in only as much time as you can spare.

Just how good are board games for you? Check out The Amazing Health Benefits of Board Games … for Adults as Well as Kids to find out!

11. Sing!

Singing is something we can all do every day, in the car, in the shower, or just about anywhere. Why should you sing? Singing can enhance your well-being, reduce your feelings of pain and even prolong your life. Several studies have also found that singing enhances immunity and may promote better posture, improved lung capacity and higher energy.


16 Cheap, Healthy, Organic Foods

16 Cheap, Healthy, Organic Foods

Can you eat a healthy, whole foods, organic diet, even on a shoestring budget? As a frequent and thrifty shopper, I know it can be done — even if you’re not a vegetarian. First, a few rules:

  • Eat in. Restaurant meals are pricey and rarely use the highest quality ingredients. Learn to whip up a few cheap and easy meals — a great omelet, a highly spiced bean and vegetable stew — and you’ll save yourself a bundle.
  • Eat in season. It’s almost always cheaper, and probably better for your body.
  • Eat less meat. Meat’s expensive on any budget, and most people eat too much of it. Shift your intake to vegetarian (cheaper) sources of protein, and use meat in small portions, as an addition to meals, rather than the main feature.
  • Eat less in general. What would happen if you cut your daily caloric intake by 10 percent? In theory, you’d cut your food budget by 10 percent as well, and you’d probably fare better for it. (And some very compelling research suggests that restricting calorie intake can increase lifespan and reduce the incidence of age-related disease.)

On your next shopping trip, choose from this thrifty list of 16 screamin’ deals — and see how much you save:

1. Cabbage. It’s rich in cancer-preventive compounds. Broccoli has similar nutrition; it’s a little pricier but versatile and worth it. Buy it in season, keep your eyes open for sales, and be sure to use the stems.

2. Carrots. Loaded with fiber and beta carotene, they’re a screaming deal. Sweet potatoes contain the same array of nutrients but cost more; still, they’re a great buy.

3. Kale. It’s more expensive than other produce items, but it’s a dense source of many nutrients, and a little goes a long way. Likewise with other greens, like chard, collards, spinach and turnip greens.

4. Bananas. Buy a bunch — the organic varieties are usually a hard-to-beat price.

5. Apples. In the fall they’re one of the best deals in town.

6. Onions. They’re rich in a number of disease-preventive antioxidants and add volumes of flavor. Garlic and ginger are other great flavor-boosters that cost pennies per serving.

7. Beans. Another ridiculous bargain. They’re a cheap, nourishing source of protein, and they’re loaded with fiber and lignans. Buy a variety, including lentils for fast cooking.

8. Nuts. They’re pricier than other items, but nutritionally so dense, you can justify it. Buy them on sale, store them in the freezer, and use them in small quantities.

9. Seeds. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are cheaper than nuts. And flax, with its high concentration of healthy fats and low price, is the best deal of all.

10. Brown rice. It’s the cheapest buy for gluten-free grains. Other great deals: oats, cornmeal and whole-wheat pasta.

11. Peanut butter. It’s not just for kids; peanut butter is as high in healthy monounsaturated fats as almonds. Make sure you’re buying it from a high-quality store that keeps bins clean to prevent molds from forming. Otherwise, buy your nut butters in jars.

12. Ground beef. Grass-fed and organic varieties are best. You’ll buy less, which means you’ll eat less, which is a good thing. Ground beef is less expensive than other cuts. If you can find it, ground bison is a better, leaner option, and usually only costs a little more.

13. Chicken fryers. Organic, of course. It’s a bigger expense on a small budget, but a whole fryer is an affordable option. Or buy thighs, or ground turkey, for other affordable options.

14. Olive oil. It’s high in healthy fats and antioxidants, and is the most versatile oil choice. You’ll be using it in small quantities, so it comes out to pennies a serving.

15. Yogurt. Unsweetened, of course. It’s high in calcium and probiotics and is much cheaper than cheese.

16. Eggs. As a protein source, they’re as good as it gets. Even the organic, Certified Humane varieties come out to less than 50 cents an egg. Cheap, cheap.

By Lisa Turner
Lisa Turner is a widely published food writer with five books on health and nutrition, and hundreds of magazine articles. In addition to writing books and magazine articles, Lisa combines 20 years of yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices to help her clients explore emotional issues behind their eating habits. Currently, she’s a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and Nutrition in Boulder, Colorado, and hard at work on her next book. Visit her websites at and

7 Things Your Teeth Say About Your Health

7 Things Your Teeth Say About Your Health

Some messages coming out of your mouth bypass the vocal chords. Turns out that your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues also have plenty to say — about your overall health.

“Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body,” says Anthony Iacopino, dean of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “What we see in the mouth can have a significant effect on other organ systems and processes in the body. And the reverse is also true: Things that are going on systemically in the body can manifest in the mouth.”

So stay attuned to the following warning messages, and have worrisome symptoms checked out by a dentist or doctor.

Dental warning: Flat, worn teeth plus headache
Sign of: Big-time stress

Many people are surprised to learn they’re tooth-grinders. After all, they do this in their sleep, when they’re not aware of it. And they underestimate the physical toll that stress can place on the body. “Crunching and grinding the teeth at night during sleep is a common sign of emotional or psychological stress,” says Iacopino.
You can sometimes see the flatness on your own teeth, or feel it with the tongue. Or the jaw may ache from the clenching.

What else to look for: Headaches, which are caused by spasms in the muscles doing the grinding. Sometimes the pain can radiate from the mouth and head down to the neck and upper back, Iacopino says. Mouth guards used at night can relieve the symptoms and protect teeth.

Dental warning: Cracking, crumbling teeth
Sign of: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Older adults, especially, are vulnerable to teeth that appear to be cracking or crumbling away. The enamel becomes thin and almost translucent. But this erosion isn’t a normal consequence of aging. In fact, it can happen at any age.

Disintegrating teeth are usually caused by acid that’s coming up from the stomach and dissolving them, Iacopino says. The cause: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, also called acid reflux disease). GERD causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus — and from there, it’s a short distance to the mouth for some of the damaging acid. GERD is a chronic disorder caused by damage or other changes to the natural barrier between the stomach and the esophagus.

What else to look for: Dry mouth and heartburn are related GERD symptoms. (But in an older adult in someone else’s care — in a nursing home, for example — these complaints may go unreported.) Cracking or chipping teeth in a younger person is also a telltale sign of bulimia, the eating disorder in which the sufferer causes herself (or himself) to vomit before digesting. Same net result: Stomach acid washes up into the mouth, over time disintegrating the tooth enamel

Dental warning: Sores that won’t go away
Sign of: Oral cancer

Many people bite the insides of their mouth as a nervous habit. Others sometimes bite the gum accidentally, creating a sore. But when an open sore in the mouth doesn’t go away within a week or two, it always warrants showing to a dentist or doctor. “We all injure our oral tissues, but if an area persists in being white or red rather than the normal healthy pink, this needs to be evaluated to rule out oral cancer,” says Susan Hyde, an associate professor of clinical dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry.

More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women a year are diagnosed with oral cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most are over age 60. Oral cancer has a survival rate of only 35 percent, Iacopino says, but this is mainly because cases are often detected too late. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer, but one in four oral cancers develop in non-smokers.

What else to look for: Suspicious oral ulcers tend to be raised sores and often have red or white (or red and white) borders. They may lurk underneath the tongue, where they’re hard to see. Bleeding and numbness are other signs, but sometimes the only sign is a sore that doesn’t seem to go away. A biopsy usually follows a visual check.

Dental warning: Gums growing over teeth
Sign of: Medication problems

If you notice your gum literally growing over your tooth, and you’re taking a medication for heart disease or seizures or you take drugs to suppress your immune system (such as before a transplant), it’s well worth mentioning this curious development to your prescribing doctor.

“A swelling of the gums to where it grows over the teeth is a sign the dosage or the medication need to be adjusted,” the ADA’s Anthony Iacopino says. Certain drugs can stimulate the growth of gum tissue. This can make it hard to brush and floss, inviting tooth decay and periodontal disease.

What else to look for: The overgrowth can cause an uncomfortable sensation. In extreme cases, the entire tooth can be covered.

Dental warning: Dry mouth
Sign of: Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes

Many things can cause dry mouth, from dehydration and allergies to smoking and new medications. (In fact, hundreds of drugs list dry mouth as a side effect, including those to treat depression and incontinence, muscle relaxants, antianxiety agents, and antihistamines.) But a lack of sufficient saliva is also an early warning of two autoimmune diseases unrelated to medicine use: Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

In Sjogren’s, the white blood cells of the body attack their moisture-producing glands, for unknown reasons. Four million Americans have Sjogren’s, 90 percent of them women. Twenty-four million people in the U.S. have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease caused by high blood sugar.

What else to look for: Other signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, tingling in the hands and feet, frequent urination, blurred vision, and weight loss. In Sjogren’s, the eyes are dry as well as the mouth, but the entire body is affected by the disorder. Because its symptoms mimic other diseases (such as diabetes), people are often misdiagnosed and go several years before being properly diagnosed.

Dental warning: White webbing inside cheeks
Sign of: Lichen planus

The last thing you might expect to discover while brushing your teeth is a skin disease. But it happens. Lichen planus, whose cause is unknown, is a mild disorder that tends to strike both men and women ages 30 to 70. The mucus membranes in the mouth are often a first target.

Oral lichen planus looks like a whitish, lacy pattern on the insides of the cheeks. (The name comes from the same roots as tree lichen, a lichen that has a similar webbed, bumpy appearance.) Seventy percent of lesions appear in the mouth before they strike other parts of the body, Iacopino says.

What else to look for: Another common area where a lichen planus rash may appear is the vagina. Lichen planus often goes away on its own, but sometimes treatment is necessary.

Dental warning: Crusting dentures
Sign of: Potential aspiration pneumonia

Most people don’t connect dentures (false teeth) with pneumonia, other than to think they’re both words that often refer to the world of the elderly. And yet the two have a potentially deadly connection. “A leading cause of death in older people is aspiration pneumonia, often from inhaling debris around the teeth and dentures,” Iacopino says.

In aspiration pneumonia, foreign material is breathed into the lungs and airway, causing dangerous (even fatal) inflammation. Too often, the problem stems from people in the care of others — those in nursing homes, for example — who fail to clean dentures properly. Dentures need to be removed daily from the mouth, cleaned with a special brush, and stored in a cleansing solution.

What else to look for: A soft, crusty material developing around dentures. With proper cleaning, though, you don’t have to worry about other red flags. “It’s amazing. You can get a 100-percent
reduction in what’s otherwise a leading cause of death for denture wearers,” Iacopino says. was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet, our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better decisions, save time, and feel more supported. provides the practical information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need during this challenging time.

13 Benefits of Homeopathy

13 Benefits of Homeopathy

What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine developed by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician in the early 1800s.  He discovered that the same substance that could cause a reaction in a healthy person could also be a remedy for someone suffering from similar symptoms.

That is the basic premise of homeopathy: “like cures like.”  It may seem hard to believe, yet the approach to vaccination used in Western medicine is a similar one, albeit one that is fraught with potential side effects, unlike homeopathy which is completely safe.

Homeopathy is a natural, holistic, approach to healing a person, using minute doses of specific remedies, rather than simply eliminating a particular symptom using a Band-Aid approach.  Unlike many health models, the model for homeopathy is one of individualization.  No two people are alike, so just because two people suffer from headaches, the homeopathic remedies provided for them may be completely different.


There are many benefits of homeopathic medicine, including:

1. It can be used by pregnant and nursing women;

2. It can be used by children and infants;

3. It does not interfere with medications taken by a person;

4. If an incorrect remedy is selected, it is completely safe and will not harm the person at all;

5. Other than occasional, mild, and short-lived symptom aggravations which pass quickly and tend to be followed by improvements in the symptoms of a person, there are no side-effects of homeopathic remedies.  This symptom aggravation is actually regarded by homeopaths as a sign that the correct homeopathic remedy has been selected and usually results in symptom improvements;

6. It can be used for chronic or acute conditions;

7. It is an individualized system of medicine which treats the person, not merely the symptoms.  The symptoms, however, are addressed when using this approach and are typically improved;

8. Homeopathy is a holistic approach to healing:  one that involves the body, mind, emotions, and spirit of the person being treated;

9. Homeopathic remedies are readily available and can, therefore, be used by anyone;

10. Homeopathic remedies are typically inexpensive and therefore provide an affordable approach to healing;

11. Homeopathic remedies can be stored for long periods of time;

12. Homeopathic medicine is non-invasive; and

13. There are many studies proving the effectiveness of homeopathy, when used correctly.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM
Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, is an international best-selling and seven-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure and HealthSmart News. Learn more at

6 Fun Ways to Help Your Heart…Sex works. So does chocolate. And music…

6 Fun Ways to Help Your Heart

Sex works. So does chocolate. And music. Who said watching your BP had to suck?

America’s blood pressure is way too high. In fact, nearly one in four men between the ages of 35 and 44 have hypertension, as well as 12 percent of men between 20 and 34, according to the American Heart Association. It’s so bad that the Institute of Medicine is urging the government to start trying to shake salt out of our diet, since too much of this key taste enhancer can cause you to retain water in your blood, which adds volume and boosts blood pressure. This, in turn, exposes you to a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and even erectile dysfunction. But sodium isn’t the only culprit. Smoking, excessive drinking, inactivity, and bad food choices can also make your arteries burst at the seams. Worse, you may never know what hit you. “Many men don’t pay attention to their blood pressure until they’re older,” says nephrologist George Bakris, M.D., president of the American Society of Hypertension. “But you don’t experience symptoms until it’s very high.”

But there’s good news amid the gloom: Keeping your blood pressure out of the danger zone doesn’t have to be just about restraint. Use our expert advice to find your perfect—perfectly fun—pressure-release valves.


Swing by the candy store

You may be able to significantly lower your blood pressure with nothing more than a daily dose of dark chocolate. In a 2008 Italian study, people who had both prediabetes and high blood pressure managed to do just that by eating 31/2 ounces of dark chocolate each day for 15 days. They lowered their systolic BP (the upper number) by 4.5 points and their diastolic (the lower number) by 4.2 points, thanks to the flavonoids—antioxidant compounds—found in dark chocolate. A sustained improvement of that extent could lower your risk of cardiovascular problems by 20 percent over 5 years.

But you need to eat the right type of chocolate. Darker chocolate contains more antioxidants and less of the sugar that may counteract chocolate’s beneficial effects, according to research from Yale. Choose dark chocolate with a minimum of 65 percent cacao, such as Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Bar ($4,  (Leesa recommends Vivani organic Dark 85% … smooth, delicious, and soy free!  Plus, I love the artwork on the wrapper!  It is beautiful!)

Take her to bed

Keep your blood flowing by hopping into the sack two or more times a week. Men who do are 65 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, compared with those who have sex less than once a month on average, according to a recent New England Research Institute study. In a 2006 study at the University of Paisley, Scotland, people who had sex at least once over a 2-week period had lower blood pressure than those who engaged in no sexual activity, and their blood vessels responded better to stress.

But going solo won’t help you out. While researchers are still examining why vaginal intercourse is so much better than other kinds of stimulation, they believe it has to do with the intimacy. Oxytocin, a hormone associated with intimacy and reduced stress, is released during sex and particularly during orgasm. Intercourse may be more intimate than other kinds of fooling around, which may lead to a more effective release of oxytocin, says Stuart Brody, Ph.D., the study’s author. Sex can also be a great workout, burning up to 60 calories per half hour in bed.

Crank the tunes

Music is a perfect tool for loosening your arteries. Listening to 30 minutes a day of “rhythmically homogeneous” music (that is, anything with a steady beat), combined with breathing exercises, can lower your systolic blood pressure by more than 4 points after 3 months, according to a 2008 Italian study. Breathing in and out with an inhale/exhale ratio of 1 to 2 while listening to slow, steady music relaxes your vessels, says Randall Zusman, M.D., director of the hypertension division at the Massachusetts General Hospital heart center.

The key is to cue up the right type of music, says Michael Miller, M.D., who coauthored a different music study in 2008. That study found that when people relaxed and breathed steadily while listening to music they found pleasurable—whether it was Mozart or Maroon 5—the linings of their blood vessels dilated by 26 percent. Those who listened to music that made them anxious experienced a 6 percent narrowing of their blood vessels. It’s your emotional connection with the music that may be key to a lower BP, Dr. Miller says.

Fire up the game console

Pumping 23,000 rounds of ammo into space aliens should do wonders for your stress and, by extension, your blood pressure. But sorry, you need to stand up from the couch to make video games count. The American Heart Association officially stamped its seal of approval on Nintendo’s motion-sensor-based Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort games in May, recommending them as legitimate ways to stay active.

Timothy Church, M.D., chairman of the American Heart Association’s physical activity committee, says playing certain Wii activities, such as boxing and jogging, is as good as hitting the gym—as long as you’re playing with at least moderate intensity for a minimum of 150 minutes a week. This can lower your systolic blood pressure by 2 to 5 points. “Some of the activities in Wii Fit can qualify as your 30 minutes a day of physical activity,” he says. “You’ll be sweating buckets.”

Toast your health

Danish researchers who analyzed data from 75,000 men found that those who had two drinks a day were 31 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease. That’s because alcohol, in modest amounts, makes your arteries larger and more pliable, which in turn lowers your blood pressure. But don’t have more than two drinks—doing so will raise your blood pressure. Scientists still don’t understand why, but Dr. Zusman thinks it could be related to alcohol’s adverse effect on other blood-pressure-regulating pathways. Limit your daily intake to two 12-ounce beers, two 5-ounce glasses of wine, or two 1.5-ounce drinks of liquor.  ( Leesa recommends organic red wine…her favorites are Vida Organica Malbec and Frey Cabernet!  Both are available  from

Laugh it up

Whether you’re ROFLing or just LOLing, you’re doing your arteries good. Laughing at a funny movie causes blood vessels to dilate by 22 percent, according to a 2006 study from the University of Maryland. The physical act of laughing causes the tissue forming the inner lining of your blood vessels to expand, allowing for an increase in bloodflow and reducing blood pressure, says Dr. Miller. “The magnitude of change is similar to the benefit you might see with aerobic activity, but without the aches and pains,” he says.

By Danielle Braff, Men’s Health is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice. features a Daily Newsletter, and provides simple, powerful tools including Recipe Finder and Home Remedy Finder to help audiences improve their health and their environment. also includes “Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen,” a personal blog where Editor-in-Chief and Rodale, Inc. CEO and Chairman Maria Rodale is “Cooking Up Trouble, Dishing Out Advice.”

11 Tips for Exercising Regularly

11 Tips for Exercising Regularly

Exercise is one of the keys to happiness. Research shows that people who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. They get relief from anxiety and mild depression, comparable to medication and therapy. They perform better at work.

Also, although it’s tempting to flop down on the couch when you’re feeling exhausted, exercise is actually a great way to boost energy levels. Feeling tired is a reason to exercise, not a reason to skip exercise.

But even when you admit that you’d feel better if you exercised, it can be very hard to adopt the habit. My idea of fun has always been to lie in bed and read, preferably while also eating a snack, but I’ve managed to keep myself exercising by using all these tricks on myself:

1. Always exercise on Monday. This sets the psychological pattern for the week. Along those lines …

2. If at all possible, exercise first thing in the morning. As the day wears on, you’ll find more excuses to skip exercising. Get it checked off your list, first thing.

3. Never skip exercising two days in a row. You can skip a day, but the next day, you must exercise, no matter how inconvenient.

4. Give yourself credit for the smallest effort. My father always said that all he had to do was put on his running shoes and close the door behind him. Many times, by promising myself I could quit ten minutes after I’d started, I got myself to start—and then found that I didn’t want to quit, after all.

5. Think about context. I thought I disliked weight training, but in fact, I dislike the guys who hang out in the weight-training area. Are you distressed about the grubby showers in your gym? Do you try to run in the mornings, but recoil from going out in the cold? Examine the factors that might be discouraging you from exercising.

6. Exercise several times a week. If your idea of exercise is to join games of pick-up basketball, you should be playing practically every day. Twice a month isn’t enough.

7. If you don’t have time to both exercise and take a shower, find a way to exercise that doesn’t require you to shower afterward. Twice a week, I have a very challenging weight-training session, but the format I follow doesn’t make me sweat. (Some of you are saying, “It can’t be challenging if you don’t sweat!” Oh yes, believe me, it is.)

8. Look for affordable ways to make exercising more pleasant or satisfying. Could you upgrade to a nicer or more convenient gym? Buy yourself a new iPod? Work with a trainer? Get a pedometer to keep track of your walking distances? Exercise is a high life priority, so this a worthwhile place to spend some money if that helps.

9. Think of exercise as part of your essential preparation for times you want to be in especially fine form—whether in performance (to be sharp for an important presentation) or appearance (to look good for a wedding) or mood (to deal with a stressful situation). Studies show that exercise does help.

10. Remember one of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood, courtesy of Voltaire: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Don’t decide it’s only worth exercising if you can run five miles or if you can bike for an hour. I have a friend who scorns exercise unless she’s training for a marathon—so she never exercises. Even going for a ten-minute walk is worthwhile. Do what you can.

11. Don’t kid yourself. Belonging to a gym doesn’t mean you go to the gym. Having been in shape in high school or college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now. Saying that you don’t have time to exercise doesn’t make it true.

People often ask me, “So if I want to be happier, what should I be doing?” and I always say, “The first thing to do is to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and plenty of exercise.”

I know that answer doesn’t sound properly transcendent and high-minded on the subject of happiness, but research shows that you’d be wise to start there. And I’ve found that if I’m feeling energetic and well rested, it’s much easier to follow all my other happiness-inducing resolutions.

By Gretchen Rubin, DivineCaroline via The Happiness Project

Originally published on The Happiness Project

At, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at

14 Surprising Things That Inspire Trust

14 Surprising Things That Inspire Trust

Trust is an interesting concept. By the time you get to work in the morning, you may have chosen to trust or not trust a dozen people. When you turn on the weather channel, you are choosing to trust the meteorologist. When you leave your jewelry on your dressing table, you do so because you trust the cleaning person who will come in the afternoon. When you count your change at the deli, you are choosing to not trust the cashier. Even spending money requires trusting that the otherwise worthless rectangle of green material in your hand has value.

Trust is what keeps our society functioning. Evolutionarily speaking, we must trust to survive. But it can be a slippery thing. What makes us trust people? And more curiously, what makes us trust some people but not others?

Expectation and Reciprocation
According to the “experts”—sociologists, psychologists, economists, political scientists—trust is based on expectation. To the degree you believe you can expect a certain response from someone, you trust him. To the degree you believe he will reciprocate at some point in the future in some (often undefined) way, you trust him. Of course, past experience—with the person in question or with others—will affect that confidence, but in the here and now, certain behaviors and visual cues can also influence if and how much you trust someone:

1. Familiarity. The more contact you have with someone, the more information you collect about him or her. The more information you have, the more confident you can be in your expectations.

2. Resemblance. If someone looks, dresses, or acts like you, you’re more likely to believe his or her actions and reactions will be similar to your own. A 2002 study at a Canadian university showed that people are more likely to trust someone whose facial features resemble theirs.

3. Consistency. The more someone behaves with consistency, the better you’re able to establish patterns and form expectations.

4. Punctuality. If someone is regularly on time, it not only signals consistency, but also general conscientiousness toward other people.

5. Flexibility. Social-exchange theorists have found that people are more likely to trust someone who does not try to explicitly negotiate or force a binding agreement. (Think of the last car salesman you encountered.)

6. Discretion. The ability to keep a secret and exercise tact will always inspire trust.

7. Transparency. The flip side of discretion is transparency. We want someone to keep our secrets, but not her own. Self-disclosure builds trust.

8. Competence. In the workplace, nothing inspires trust more than getting the job done right.

9. Engagement. Trust is based on an understood reciprocity. If someone does not even appear to invest in you, he likely doesn’t have much to lose in betraying you.

10. Face Time. Part of engaging is an effort to make “face time.” A recent study showed that people in the workplace are more likely to trust team members with whom they interact in person more than those they work with via email or videoconference.

11. Facial hair. Another recent study in the Journal of Marketing Communications found that consumers trust pitchmen with beards more than those without. There are limits, however, to the beard-trustworthiness theory. Graphic designer Matt McInerney was only halfway kidding when he made a graphic spectrum of “The Trustworthiness of Beards.”

12. Eye contact (but not too much). This is perhaps the biggest behavioral indicator of trustworthiness. But the quality of the eye contact, observes psychologist Elaine Ducharme, also matters. Is it steely or warm? Too much eye contact can be unnerving.

13. Handshake (not too firm, not too soft). Any businessperson can tell you the importance of a firm handshake in building confidence. However, like eye contact, there is a middle ground. Too firm suggests aggression; too soft suggests passivity.

14. Posture. No one trusts a slouch. A straight back projects an image of strength and confidence.

Of course, while these behaviors and visual cues might inspire trust, they don’t guarantee trustworthiness. As Ducharme wryly reminds, many psychopaths maintain excellent eye contact.

By Kathryn Williams, DivineCaroline

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Surprising Things That May Reduce Memory Loss

Surprising Things That May Reduce Memory Loss

Surprising Things That May Reduce Memory Loss

A study published in the Journal Nutrition, found eating a diet rich in plants containing the chemical Luteolin, reduces age-related inflammation in the brain, and memory deficits associated with aging. Luteolin is found in celery, green pepper, thyme, perilla, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and oregano.

“We found previously that during normal aging, microglial cells become dysregulated and begin producing excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines. We think this contributes to cognitive aging and is a predisposing factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases,” said University of Illinois animal sciences professor Rodney Johnson. (Source:

In another research study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Nevada and the University of California found the subjects in their study who walked between six and nine miles a week were 50 percent less likely to suffer from future memory problems. 1,479 adults aged 65 and older participated in the study which included answering questions about their frequency of walking. Based on their answers, 924 met the criteria established for having an MRI brain scan.

A first MRI was conducted during a two-year period, and a second was done about six years later with 516 of the originally screen subjects. Of those 516, 299 met the criteria of being 78 years of age, and having normal cognitive function. This group was checked upon regularly by the researchers, and was assessed for cognitive function thirteen years after they entered the study.

The study tried to balance various factors other than age and walking such as lifestyle, education, gender and health status. It was found those who walked 6-9 miles per week had larger volumes of gray matter in areas of their brains. The group of older adults who walked the most had the only association with increased brain matter.

What makes the study more substantiated is the large sample size and the relatively long duration. However, the study relied on self-reporting which is not the most reliable form of testing. The researchers did not directly observe the subjects conducting their walks and measure the distances. Also, brains were only scanned once after nine years. Perhaps the study could have been stronger if brain volume had been measured every year or every six months for nine years.

by Jake Richardson

Image Credit: Tomisti

3 Types of Energy: Foods that Balance Your Mind

3 Types of Energy: Foods that Balance Your Mind

Mental health disorders have become so common in the United States that according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 1 in 4 Americans ages 18 and older, suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. One fact that mental health scientists agree on is the imbalance in the complex, interrelated chemical reactions of the brain. How this imbalance occurs continues to be a cause for study. Meanwhile research has produced a pharmacopoeia full of prescription meds to ease our mental suffering. Rarely is quality of diet mentioned as a treatment plan for mental illness and yet the ancient Ayurvedic practitioners and yogis knew the affects food can have on the brain.

The human body  requires essential nutrients on a daily basis to function properly and we know from medical research that a lack of these nutrients can cause chemical imbalance in both organ and brain functions. Ancient practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, known to be the world’s oldest surviving healing system, created a lifestyle in which the body and mind could maintain optimal health and mental well-being. By creating a harmonious chemical balance in the body, and practicing yoga and meditation, one may become more spiritually liberated.

The practice of Ayurveda distinguishes food as having particular energetic qualities, known as the 3 Gunas: Sattvic (lightness, purity), Rajasic (overactive, passionate), and Tamasic (lethargy, inertia). These energies are also seen to be universal in dimension and permeate all living and inanimate life. Eating too much of rajasic or tamasic foods will create a chemical imbalance in the brain. Instead eat these foods in moderation and aim for living a sattvic lifestyle. The  Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center incorporates this knowledge into their teachings and have compiled a list of foods for students of yoga to follow.

Rajasic Food
“The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry, and burning, are liked by the rajasic and are productive of pain, grief, and disease.” Bhagavad Gita, 17-9

These are foods that over stimulate the brain causing anxiety, stress and nervous disorders. Rajasic foods are very hot, bitter, sour, dry, or salty. Too much rajasic food or eating too fast, will over stimulate the body and excite the passions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable. Rajasic foods include:

  • Hot peppers
  • Garlic and onions
  • Coffee and caffeinated tea
  • Refined sugar
  • Soft drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Over salted foods
  • <
  • 3 of 4
  • >

Tamasic Food
“That food which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, and impure refuse, is the food liked by the tamasic.” Bhagavad Gita, 17-10

A tamasic diet causes Prana, or energy, to decline, depresses the mind, causes the person to become dull, lazy and unmotivated. The body’s immune system is weakened and the mind filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed. Overeating is also regarded as tamasic. Tamasic items include:

  • Meat
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Fermented foods, such as vinegar
  • Fried foods
  • Mushrooms
  • Stale or overripe foods

Sattvic Food
“The foods which increase life, purity, strength, health, joy, and cheerfulness, which are savory and oleaginous, substantial and agreeable, are dear to the sattvic people.” Bhagavad Gita, 17-8

The sattvic diet is considered the purest, the most suitable for anyone, but especially for the serious student of yoga. It nourishes the body and creates a peaceful and calm state of mind.  A sattvic diet leads one to attain optimal health, a peaceful and focused mind, with a balanced flow of energy between them. Sattvic foods include:

  • Whole grain cereals and breads
  • Fresh and dried fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh fruit and vegetable juices
  • Raw milk, butter and cheese
  • Legumes
  • Nuts, seeds, and sprouted seeds
  • Honey
  • Fresh herbs and herbal teas.
Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker. Follow Delia’s blogs: and To view her website go to

Being task-oriented AND people-oriented is a great combination!

Being task-oriented AND people-oriented is a great combination!

Most of you know that I teach information about personality styles.  In the Model of Human Behavior, the left side of the model represents people who are task-oriented and the right side represents those who are more people-oriented.  Of course, everyone has some of both of these traits to a greater or lesser degree. 
Having taught this model for over two decades now, I have come to believe that almost 90% of the conflict we experience goes back to the fact that we all view life from one of those two lenses:  task or people.  When two people are involved in a situation where one is approaching it as a task and the other is dealing with it from a relationship standpoint, it will only be a matter of time until conflict occurs.  If I fail to understand your frame of reference or you fail to understand mine, we will constantly misunderstand and wrongly judge each other.
Not too long ago, I was taking a flight from Atlanta to Detroit.  The captain of the plane demonstrated the greatest balance of this principle that I have ever seen in my life!  The door to the plane had been shut, but before we took off, the captain stepped into the aisle and asked the flight attendant if he could use the P.A. system to make an announcement.  Of course, she complied.  He then took the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?”  In light of all of the dangers that accompany flying these days, he did not have to ask twice for our attention!  Every eye was focused on him. 
The captain continued, “I have been flying for this airline for over 25 years.  I just wanted to assure you that I know how to fly this plane.  It is a beautiful day for flying and we are going to have a safe trip.  However, the reason I wanted to have your attention is because I want to personally thank you for flying this airline today.  If it were not for you, I would not have a job!  I realize the economy is a little tough right now and all of us are hurting, so I want to thank you for trusting us with your business and travel needs today. 
“I am going to get back into my seat in the cockpit in a moment and pay attention to what I need to do to get us out of Atlanta on time and into Detroit safely. 
“I don’t know who your favorite team is that might be playing a ballgame today, but I sure do hope they win!  I also hope you will take the time to get to know the people sitting next to you.  Who knows?  You might meet a new friend on the way. 
“I will turn this back over to our flight attendants and go focus on my job.  I want all of you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip and I’ll see you in Detroit!”
As soon as he finished speaking, applause erupted!  It was almost like being at a pep rally!  Everyone was laughing and smiling in agreement that it was a great thing to do.
As I sat there listening to him, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Has he been through one of my training programs?”  He had demonstrated so well the balance between being task-oriented and people-oriented.  When he was telling us all about how he was going to be focused on his job, he was relating to the task aspect of the trip, but when he was thanking us for flying his airline and encouraging us to meet new friends, he was focusing on the people aspect.  He did it in such an artful and balanced way that I honestly wondered if he had been trained in the Model of Human Behavior.  (If you want to see it for yourself, go back and re-read what he said to us.  Underline or highlight in one color everything that he said that was related to a task.  Then, underline or highlight in another color everything he said that was related to people.  You will soon see the balance between the two.)  Again, it was the best demonstration I had ever personally witnessed in my life.
Now, I want to ask you a question.  Which side of the equation do you find yourself on most of the time?  Are you more task-oriented or are you more people-oriented?  One type is not right or wrong.  One type is not good or bad; they are just different.  If you are more task-oriented, it would serve you well to visit the people side a little more often.  Try being a little more friendly and lighten up a bit.  And, if you are more people-oriented, try visiting the task side more frequently.   It will help you be more focused on whatever you find yourself doing.
The next time you see conflict taking place, look carefully.  My bet is that it stems from the fact that the people involved are looking at the situation from different frames of reference:  one is task, the other is relationship.  By implementing this simple concept, you can alleviate most of the difficult relational challenges you face.  And, you will be a more well-rounded, balanced person who is able to meet the needs of all those with whom you come in contact.
If somebody told me they could give me one good tip that would resolve 90% of all the conflict in my life, I would certainly listen to it and apply it to the best of my ability.  That is what you have been given in this Tip.  Now start practicing; put it to work and enjoy the benefits for the rest of your life!
Have a great week!  God bless you!

Robert A. Rohm Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc.

Copyright 2010 Personality Insights, Inc.  Reprinted with permission. You may subscribe to the  “Tip of the Week” for free at and receive Dr. Rohm’s weekly Tip every Monday morning.

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